How Team Australia Secured A Spot In The CWC 2023 Final; Talking Points, Stunning Performances, Controversies And More

SA Vs AUS Review: If last night’s semi final was defined by a mountain of runs by both the sides, today’s was on the opposite side of the spectrum with a battle of attrition between two sides who have been familiar foes in recent times. South Africa and Australia played out a competitive, attritional, yet very intense semi final in Kolkata where both sides fought tooth and nail, but ultimately it was Pat Cummins’ boys who emerged victorious to book a final showdown against India in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

South Africa managed a paltry 212 that was possible thanks to David Miller’s century, but a mixture of caution and aggression in equal measure saw the Men in Yellow get over the hump.


We now go over the talking points of a game that had enough action to entertain the crowd throughout the duration of the contest.


Starc and Hazlewood breathe fire


Entering the game, the biggest question mark that Australia faced was the bowling form of two of their most key bowlers. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have had rather indifferent tournaments where they have been rather predictable and too one-dimensional for their own good that has reflected poorly on their overall numbers, but in a high-stakes game like the one today coupled by the conditions swinging in their favor, the duo put in arguably arguably their best performances of the tournament with the ball.


While Starc started off things with a peach of an outswinger that saw Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma edge one to the keeper, Hazlewood was a constant menace with his quintessential test-match lengths, putting a complete choke on the run-scoring of the otherwise free-scoring South Africans. In fact, they were bowling so well that Pat Cummins continued bowling them in a spell from both ends as if they were playing an actual Test match. It was a reminder of the enduring class and quality they possess and India will definitely be mindful of the fact when they face them in the final.


Image Credits: Sportstar- The Hindu


Magnificent Miller


With South Africa tottering at 24/4 and runs coming at an absolute premium for them, someone had to stand up and put their hand to be the man to take them out of choppy waters, and Miller was the man for the occasion. Joining hands with Heinrich Klaassen, he first built a 95-run stand where he was the sheet anchor while Klaassen did his thing from the other end, he assumed the mantle of the aggressor when SA lost two wickets off two balls. He then began to find the boundaries with ease and systematically began targeting the bowlers for his late assault.


With 8 fours and 5 sixes, Miller was the reason why South Africa managed to reach a somewhat competitive score of 212 that gave them a semblance of hope when it came to defending it. His 101 might have eventually ended in a losing cause, but it was a tremendous knock under pressure by Killer Miller.


Warner and Head dominate the powerplay


With a score as meager as 212, the best way for the South Africans to stay in the contest and get the Australians in a spot of bother was by pucking a couple of wickets very early into their bowling attack. But that did not happen courtesy of a buccaneering opening stand filled with aggressive strokes by Travis Head and David Warner.


Both openers knew the importance of a solid start in a potentially tricky run-chase and started the chase with attacking intent. They attacked Jansen, Rabada, and particularly Gerald Coetzee, finding the boundaries with ridiculous ease and making sure that the game was half-won in the first power play itself. By the time South Africa responded by dismissing Warner, and Marsh eventually, the score was already 74 in 10 overs, which laid the platform for victory.


ICC World Cup 2023 - Mitchell Starc credits 'incredible' Hazlewood for  Australia's powerplay dominance | ESPNcricinfoICC World Cup 2023 - Mitchell Starc credits 'incredible' Hazlewood for  Australia's powerplay dominance | ESPNcricinfo
Image Credits: ESPNcricinfo

Sloppy Proteas drip the match away


When you are defending a score that is comparatively low, there is very little margin for error with the ball, but there is an even smaller margin for error in the field. Holding on to half-chances whole defending a low score is not a luxury but a necessity, and that is exactly what South Africa failed to do in this contest.


In Coetzee’s very first ball in the powerplay, Travis Head played a loose shot straight toward deep cover. Reeza Hendricks, who was on as a sub fielder did everything right except holding on to the catch, and you could sense a feeling of foreboding at that very moment.


From there on, while South Africa did battle bravely by chipping in with wickets at timely intervals, there were a lot of half-chances that were spilled coupled with easy runs given away. Another key missed chance was Quinton de Kock dropping Pat Cummins with Australia 7 down and still needing 20-odd runs to win. Catches win matches, and the failure to hold on to those catches eventually lost South Africa the game.


Author Credits- Delwyn Serrao

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